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Exploring the impact of the introduction of new EFL textbooks on teachers' practices and attitudes at a technical college in Japan

posted on 29.03.2022, 00:28 by Simon Christopher Humphries
Although the Japanese government has introduced policies to try to encourage communicative learning in Japanese schools (MEXT, 2002, 2003), studies have shown that English teachers have tended to continue the traditional yakudoku (grammar-translation) style of education (Kikuchi & Browne, 2009; O'Donnell, 2005; Sato, 2002; Wada, 2002). The pressure to prepare students for the grammatically oriented university entrance tests has often been cited as the cause for this phenomenon (Gorsuch, 2001; Sakui, 2004; Watanabe, 2004). The influence of the government-authorised textbooks seems to have been under-researched. Therefore, this study explores the effects of ELT textbooks on teaching attitudes and practices in a Japanese Kosen (engineering college). -- After studying the equivalent of three high school and two tertiary-level years at a Kosen, the students can transfer into the third year of a university course without taking an English test. This situation creates the opportunity to implement learner-centred communicative approaches. To maximise this opportunity, the author's college replaced some of the traditional textbooks with learner-centred conversation course books. However, well-meaning policy change does not automatically equal shared ownership and adoption by practitioners (Fullan, 2007). -- The author analysed the textbooks using an approach described by Littlejohn (1998). Subsequently, he observed and interviewed four teachers, who used both the traditional transmission-style and new learner-centred conversation textbooks, to analyse the degrees of implementation and acceptance. -- The researcher analysed the observation and interview data using constant comparison (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Two main areas of interest arose from the data: (1) the teachers' control of the activities; and (2) the students' low levels of participation. -- This study indicated that teacher and student freedom led to a culture of uncertainty in the Kosen that the researcher termed the driftwood effect. A culture of collaborative professional development ought to be developed to facilitate the capacity for change.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Literature review -- Research methodology -- Textbook analysis -- Teachers' perspective -- Classroom observations: Akira -- Classroom observations: Chikara -- Discussion.


Some figures have been suppressed from the electronic version of this thesis for copyright reasons. Bibliography: p. 390-405

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Dept. of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Dept. of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Anne Burns


Copyright disclaimer: http://www.copyright.mq.edu.au Copyright Simon Christopher Humphries 2011.




xviii, 405 p. col. ill

Former Identifiers

mq:18193 http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/160891 1602582